Festival of The Imagination 1996 – Apologies

Being page 3 of the December 1995 Newsletter. Faithfully transcribed by Anna Hepworth. Fancy fonts and formatting at the bottom of the page have been ignored as too hard for this time of night.


Why We’re So Late, and What About Bruce?

I regret to inform you that I cannot attend your conference as I have recently discovered that my wife will be giving birth in April. I’m professionally quite disappointed and personally very elated. A development of this magnitude is one of the very few things that could have kept me away from Perth — but well, this is in fact one of those things.

Please convey my apologies to the committee and my hopes that another opportunity may offer itself at some later time.

Yours sincerely, Bruce Sterling

Yes, this was meant to be the October Newsletter for the Festival of the Imagination 1996, and yes, Bruce Sterling was one of our guests. Isn’t it amazing how much can change in the space of one newsletter? As you can see, we received correspondence from Bruce in October, giving us the good news that his wife was expecting a child. Unfortunately for us, this happy event was due to take place in April of next year, inconveniently clashing with our schedule. Suggestions that the birth be made an impromptu panel item were, naturally enough, rejected by all and sundry, and thus the search for a new guest was begun. “We’ll put off the next newsletter until we have some positive news to impart”, our chairman assured us.

Now we are pleased to announce that Jack Dann has accepted our invitation. Both Jack and his wife, Dr. Janeen Webb (see page 5 for biographical details), will be most welcome at the Festival of the Imagination 1996, and we’re sure they will be invaluable guests. Of course, Neil Gaiman has sent his congratulations to Bruce and has assured us he is still most definitely on his way, bringing with him preview material from his new television series. In addition we are looking at the possibility of acquiring yet another overseas guest, as well as more local guests. There will be more details in subsequent newsletters, which will, god and contributors willing, be on schedule this time.

The Festival of the Imagination 1996 would like to wish everybody a
Merry Christmas
and a happy New Year

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Festival of the Imagination 1996 March 1996 Newsletter – The Chair Speaks

We’ve already summarised this newsletter, but here’s its page 3:

The Chair Speaks

Welcome to the last newsletter before the Festival. This newsletter will primarily cover the programme and the voting for the Ditmars and Asfmas. I will however be adding some general information in this page relevant to most of our members.

The Festivals block accomodation booking for the Kings Perth Hotel is now full, but rooms are still available in the alternative hotel, the Inntown. Members who wish to book rooms should now do so direct to the hotels, as the short time left until the Festival makes this the most efficient way to provide this service now. The Festival’s rates still apply, so make sure you inform reservation staff that you are eligible for the special rate. Hotel contact numbers are listed on page 2. Miss Mauds and The Sebel are also local hotels.

Membership prices have been held down to $75 until the end of March, then then $80 until the Festival. Prices will be $80 at the door of the Festival or $25 for a day membership. Memberships after 31 March will only be availble from the Festival, support businesses will no longer be able to provide memberships.

Voting forms for the Ditmar and Asfma Awards are included with this Newsletter. Please read the conditions for voting on the forms if you intend to vote for these awards by postal vote. Please note – all members attending the Festival can vote until 6pm Saturday 6 April at the Festival.

The programme is provided here for members to start planning their attendance at the Festival. Listed is the programming for the two main rooms which include all major guest events. Video, Gaming and third stream programs will be available at the Festival. As always this program is subject to minor change but all major events are very unlikely to move. If you have any item you wish included in the program, or would like to participate in a event please contact the Festival at the address / phone on page 2.

I would also like to thank Martin Livings, the Editor of the Newsletters, whose professionalism and dedication to publishing the Newsletter has contributed so much to the success of the Festival promotions. Without the benefit of these Newsletters, the Festival would not have the excellent foundation it currently enjoys and have the ability to reach the success it is now assured of achieving. (aw shucks… Ed.)

Once more, and for the last time, see you at the Festival.

Richard Scriven
Chair, Festival of the Imagination 1996

“You knew the job was dangerous when you took it, Fred.”

(Super Chicken)

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Swancon 17 – progress report November 1991 – Lace & Steel part 2

This is part 2 of the rules summary for the Lace & Steel RPG on pages 16-18 of the progress report. It covers most of the combat related rules summaries. All typos are faithfully reproduced.


Lace & Steel uses a card system to resolve all combat. The deck is made up of 52 cards in two suits, Rapiers and Roses. They are also marked with an attack line (upper, middle or lower) and a number. The procedure for combat is not really complex, but the combat itself can take quite some time and can be lethal (this isn’t D&D!). At the start of combat, each player is dealt cards equal to the Maximum Hand number on the character sheet. The deck is then cut to determine which character has the initiative. The highest card wins, with ties being broken by reference to the attack lines (upper beats middle, middle beats lower). The draws are modified for the INT of the characters and the reach and heft of their weapons. The winner of the initiative contest is the attacker. The attacker plays a card, calling the line (e.g. “middle”), but playing the card face down. The defender must respond by playing a defensive card. The cards are turned and compared. If the defender’s card is in the same line and equal to or greater than the attacker’s card, the attack is successfully parried. If not, the attack is successful and the defender takes damage (see below). The players then determine the draw of new cards. If the suits of the attack and defence cards match, the defender draws a new card. If they are mismatched, the attacker draws. If one of the cards played indicates a “Draw” or “Rip-off”, its player then draws from the deck, or rips-off his opponent by adding cards selected at random from his opponent’s hand to his own. In all cases, the attacker draws/rips-off first. Cards may only be drawn by players whose characters are not wounded in the current pass. Initiative is then determined for the next pass. The attacker retains initiative unless the parry exceeded the attack by one or more points. (There are, however, special cards which will affect the gaining or retaining of initiative.) The pass is then over and the combat returns to the playing of the attack card.

Certain cards will be marked with effects as well as with the normal information:

Stop-hit: When a stop-hit card is played as a defence, the defender attacks her opponent before the original attack is played. The defender must announce the stop-hit and the line (upper, middle or lower), whereupon the attacker must defend against this hit. If the attacker is killed by the stop-hit, the defender does not need to deal with the original blow, otherwise she must defend as normal.
Feint: A feint allows the attacker to play a low-value card to draw out his opponent’s high defence cards. The feint will not lose initiative if parried, unless the defender plays a riposte card.
Riposte: A riposte card will automatically win the initiative for the defender if played as a defence card, as long as the attack is successfully parried.
Disarm: Disarm may be played by either the attack or the defender. If the value of the disarm card exceeds that of the other card by 2 or more points, the opponent is disarmed, and may not pick up his weapon until he can manage to win initiative. Note, of course that the disarmed character may not play any cards other than dodge or intuition cards until the weapon is retrieved. Neither side is damaged by a disarm unless it has been played to parry a stop-hit.
Draw Allows the player to draw the number of cards indicated, provided he or she was not wounded in the current pass.
Rip-off Allows the player to rip-off the number of cards indicated, unless wounded in the current pass. This occurs before drawing of new cards.
Lock Hilts: Playable as a parry, lock hilts stops the combat while the characters match each other in a Contest of Strength. The winner gains initiative and rips-off the opponent for 2 cards.
Dodge: There is no line printed on a dodge, and it may be used to defend against any attack. If the suits on attack and dodge cards match, the defender gains initiative, otherwise it is retained by the attacker.
Intuition: Also not marked as an attack card, this card must be played before an attack is made in the current pass. The player of the card is allowed to inspect the opponent’s cards before play continues.
Disengage: Played instead of an attack by the attacker, this allows the character to flee without allowing the opponent a strike against his back, or to re-engage and redraw for starting initiative. A re-engaging player will regain one point of Max Hand lost through fatigue.


Every character has a fatigue rating. A player keeps all the combat cards she plays in a separate pile, and when the number of cards in that pile reaches her character’s fatigue rating, her Max Hand drops by one. Points lost in this way can be regained by rest, or by passing the initiative to the other player. The fatigue rating can be lowered by the wearing of armour.


When an attack is successful, the defender is wounded. The damage rating of the attack is determined by subtracting the value of the defence card from that of the attack card if both are in the same line, or by simply applying the number on the attack card if the cards are in different lines. If the damage rating is higher than one, there is a possibility of follow-up damage. If the suits are mismatched, the attacker draws one card from the deck and adds it to the attack. The card is reduced by one if the strength rating of the attacker is lower than that of the defender. Brawling weapons such as fists, feet, rocks and such, cause only temporary damage. This damage stuns and knocks out rather than killing.
Multiple attackers against a lone defender combine their hands (of cards) into one and play as one single entity. Max hands are added together, but all other factored stats are averaged throughout the group.


Armour offers some protection against damage. When a hit is scored against an armoured location, a card is drawn from the deck and compared to the protection value of the armour. The damage will only take effect if the number on the card is greater than the armour protection. If follow-up damage is scored, two cards are drawn and penetration is checked against the higher of the two.

Other Combat Rules

Drawing new hands: There are few circumstances under which a player may draw a new hand. For those occasions, each character has a “new draw” rating, which indicates the number of cards to be drawn.
Desperate Defence: If a character is attacked, the player discard his current hand and draw three cards in a desperate defence. This may only be done once per round. This is useful when the defender has no cards matching the current line of the attack, and no dodge cards.
Lack of Attack Cards: If the attacking player runs out of attack cards, she must discard and draw a number of cards equal to her character’s draw rating.
Lack of All Cards: If a player runs out of cards completely, she may draw a new hand next time she is attacked or wins initiative.
Higher skill on one side is a distinct advantage. The more highly skilled player draws, in all cases, additional cards equal to the difference in skill ratings. They player may not, of course, exceed Maximum Hand rating, and must discard extra cards from these draws. A skill rating of 2 or more above an opponent forces the less skilled player to play all cards face up rather than face down.
Missile combat takes a similar form to melee. The players determine initiative by adding their New Draw rating to the handiness for their weapons. Highest score goes first; ties indicate simultaneous fire. Missile combat takes ten seconds, i.e. ten melee turns. Success in missile combat is determined as a task, using the DEX of the character against the difficulty rating of the target, with the firer’s missile skill as a DRM. Damage is determined by drawing a card from the deck at random, a card in Rapiers allowing the player to draw a second card and add this to the first. Armour protects against some missile fire, but unproved armour (i.e. non-metal armour and armour that has not been checked by the armourer) can be automatically penetrated at closer ranges.

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Festival of The Imagination 1996 – Programming

Being page 6 of the December 1995 Newsletter. Faithfully transcribed by Anna Hepworth. 


The spectrum of science fiction has continually widened to encompass an impressive range of sub-genres. Science fiction no longer represents a restrictive type or mode of fiction, but now acts as a banner under which a variety of speculative, imaginary styles and approaches congregate. SF should be about the changing ways of thinking and seeing; not necessarily by didactic or dialectic means, though certainly valid, but simply by developing our attitude, approach, intuition to the field. Without this philosophy being entrenched in the genre and the manner in which we communicate and interact with and within it, science fiction means nothing, or at least nothing of any real importance. Not even a jolly good time. And science fiction should be of importance, even when it is busy trying to make us laugh. Because good SF can still be a hell of a lot of fun while also making us scratch our heads and getting the brain ticking over new things and new ways to see them.

And with these attitudes and beliefs in mind, the programme is being constructed to allow wide and opinionated debate. Such topics to be discussed are “Future Shock”, the relationship between SF/fantasy film/TV and literature, the Star Trek universe as providing the basis for a new religion, UFO culture as an attempt to live science fiction in a real world, do-it-yourself conspiracy, the role of paranoia in SF, SF as counter culture, madness, X-Files culture, future sex, the Internet, publishing and reviewing, F&SF film criticism as opposed to general film criticism, the importance of design and originality in the genre or lack of it. Specific panel, discussion, presentation details, including social programming, will in the following newsletters leading up to the Festival, with the final pre-con publication presenting full details of the programme and the respective participants (see previous newsletter for a description of the programme’s general structure).

A long list of potential panel items exists (those who have contacted Festival committee members know we’re not short on ideas), but topics aren’t nearly as important as who will be presenting them. This Festival wishes to emphasise that the program will be about people who have ideas and opinions to communicate and who will actively encourage Festival members to participate in the creative and entertaining process. And it is the intention of the Festival and the committee to spend the following period after this newsletter to make contact with current members and prospective members and to seek input and participation into events whether volunteered and offered, whether panel presentation, performance or workshop. As it stands we already have many current and future members who will promise a most interesting, entertaining and diverse series of events from silly quiz shows to intense debate on film, video, literature, comic, art, radio, gaming and music. We promise to make a concerted effort to cover the length and breath of the SF realm

And don’t just wish us luck (as we hear some say “you’ll need it”), gives us your thoughts. They are more than just welcome, they’re requested. And, to encourage the idea of debate, if you disagree and wish to make comment on any views expressed earlier in this article, then please make them known to the newsletter editor. (Thanks, Robin! – Ed.)

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Festival of the Imagination 1996 July 1995 Newsletter – Neil Gaiman

Pages 6 and 7 of this newsletter are dedicated to a biography of Neil Gaiman “The Perfect Guest?” written by David Cake. At the bottom of page 7 is a selected bibliography which is presumably well out of date, and the quote:

“I feel I have proved one of two things: either I have fully recovered … or a hole in the head is no handicap to a science fiction writer.”
Robert A Heinlein, regarding his  brain surgery

Neil Gaiman is the most influential and critically acclaimed comics writer to have emerged in the last decade. Best known for the enormous success of Sandman, a comic that is a triumphant revival of dark fantasy as a comics genre (and some of the best fantasy in any medium, as evidenced by the World Fantasy award it won), he has also written short stories, superhero comics, some quite unclassifiable comics, and books both fiction and non-fiction. With his black clothes, hair and sunglasses, and the success of every project he turns his hand to these days (even when his involvement is peripheral), he is the epitome of cultural cool. But inside this stylish exterior is the heart of a fan, a man who has written books on the Hitchhikers Guide (The Official Guide to the Hitchhikers Guide) and the joys of really bad SF (Ghastly Beyond Belief, with Kim Newman). Yes, Neil Gaiman is my kind of a guy. I have a theory that he is actually preparing for a career as the perfect convention guest of honour – first he lays the groundwork by gaining an encyclopaedic knowledge of important random information (the two books above, the comics history and mythology displayed in Sandman, and the ability to ‘swear in several different centuries’), writes some of it down to establish his fannish credentials, and then his only remaining barrier is become famous enough to be regularly invited – so then comes Sandman. And when you consider his dress sense and his nocturnal lifestyle, it is obvious that he is going to fit in fine at a WA Con!

His first comic (he had already had books published) was Violent Cases. A complex piece about the author recollecting his boyhood meetings with Al Capone’s osteopath, through a veil of memory and childish imagination, it was also the first of his many fruitful collaborations with Dave McKean, the phenomenal artist who would later be responsible for the Sandman covers. McKean combines painting, pencil drawing and collages of found art and objects into an expressive evocative work that complements the splintered narrative well, and their reputations are assured. The pair go on to collaborate on Signal to Noise (a story about a dying filmmaker contemplating his last film, about the hysteria that accompanied the turning of the last millennium), first published in a yuppie style journal The Face, and on The Black Orchid (a story set in the DC Comics superhero universe, featuring Batman as well as the plant-woman of the title). The Black Orchid must have pleased DC a lot – shortly thereafter McKean got to revisit his unique image of Batman in Arkham Asylum (written by Grant Morrison), and Neil Gaiman got his own series, Sandman (covers also by McKean).

And it was with Sandman that Gaiman really exploded. More accessible than Signal to Noise or Violent Cases, with the freedom of creative control over the main characters, and the security of an ongoing series allowing either one issue or long stories, he created a superb fantasy series. It won a World Fantasy Award (for the story “A Midsummer Nights Dream”), and it became hugely popular. Other Gaiman projects have been just as successful. Almost everything he has ever done in comics form has been collected into graphic novel format. His non-comics fiction has been extremely successful, both his own short story collection (Angels and Visitations) and his collaboration with Terry Pratchett (Good Omens). Alan Moore has granted him the huge vote of confidence of allowing him to continue his Miracleman series. There are now several comics series that he has only peripheral involvement with, starring characters that he has created – including The Books of Magic for DC Comics, and Mr Hero and Teknophage for Tekno comics. This (and the number of single issue Sandman stories that might have easily been stretched to much longer by a lesser author) gives you the impression that he has story ideas in such creative abundance that he cannot hope to use them all as fast as he gets them.

Why is Gaiman so successful? There are a lot of reasons. One reason is that there is a shortage of good fantasy, especially in comic form – sure, there is plenty of (usually formula driven) swords and sorcery around, but not enough of the stuff that transforms and intrigues. Sandman is good fantasy that is never to a formula. Another reason is that, like many great artists, Gaiman is not afraid to steal ideas – from mythology and folklore, from his favourite authors (James Branch Cabell and Jonathan Carroll, for example – or in the case of G.K. Chesterton, actually inserting him as a character), from the rich back log of past DC Comics (far more Sandman characters are old DC characters revitalised than most people realise. Part of the fun of reading Sandman is trying to catch all his allusions and references). But when he steals, he always does it with respect for the original, and gives the old ideas new twists rather than simply recycling them. And another reason is that Gaiman is someone who knows and loves comics, and uses the conventions of the genre innovatively and well. But perhaps the real reason Gaiman is so successful is simply that his work is so damn good.

Who will enjoy Neil Gaiman’s work? Anyone who likes good fantasy, good comics, or simply good writing will enjoy some of his comics work, and his non-fiction is great fannish material. And who will enjoy him as a guest? Anybody who is in random* should be able to find at least one reason to find Neil Gaiman a great choice.

* Yes, it says random. Presumably should be fandom? Ed.

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Festival of the Imagination 1996 December 1995 progress report: The Dealers Room

Huh. Dealers’ tables are a thing that haven’t changed price much over time.
The text uses “Dealers”, no apostrophe, throughout.

The Dealers Room

This is also known as a trader, merchant or hucksters room, where people gather to buy and sell genre related merchandising, whether it be books, comics, prints, figurines, T-shirts or any of the plethora of possible goods. It is an ideal place to pick up a souvenir of the Festival, and additionally offers individuals and businesses to chance to gain some exposure and sell some of their wares.

Opening Times

Set up –                                Thur 10 am – 4 pm
Open to the membership – Fri    10 am – 4 pm
Sat   10 am – 4 pm
Sun  10 am – 4 pm
Mon  10 am – 4 pm

Rates for the dealers room

Members $40 (1 table) –          increases to $70 on 1-1-96
Non Members $120 (1 Table) increases to $150 on 1-1-96

(Tables are limited to one (1) per dealer/ trader at this stage)

There is a maximum of only 11 tables available. Due to the small number, allocations will be based on payment order.


1) Tables are to be booked as soon as possible. You shall only be guaranteed a table when your fee has been received.
2) Limit of 1 table only
3) Only 2 persons per organization are allowed at the table.
4) Dealers are responsible for their own property and Festival organizers are not responsible for loss, items stolen or breakages.

Any other questions?

If you have any questions regarding the dealers room, please contact Brian/ Elizabeth on (09)xxxxxxx

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SwanCon 17 – November 1991 Progress Report – Lace & Steel – Part 1

According to the table of contents of this progress report the summary of the rules for Lace & Steel start on page 14 of this progress report, and continue until page 18. In order to keep this post reasonable I shall do pages 14-15 here (character creation and skills) and do combat in a later post.

Lace & Steel Rules Summary

Lace & Steel will be the featured system at PARSEC/SwanCon. It is an Australian Roleplaying Game with a Renaissance feel and its designer, Paul Kidd, will be a guest at the Convention. A tournament scenario will be run at the Con, suitable for people with at least modest roleplaying experience. If you are planning to play in the Lace & Steel game (“Blood Magic”) at PARSEC, the following rules summary should be of some interest. The game is not particularly well-known (what Australian RPGs are?) and a knowledge of the rules, however basic, will make life a lot easier for both you and the referees at the Con.

As “Blood Magic” is intended for moderately experienced role players, some of the terminology below won’t mean a lot to some of you. “Dreamers in the Net” will provide an opportunity for everyone to participate in a fast-paced imaginative and fascinating roleplaying scenario, so if you’re inexperienced, that’s the one for you.

There is an inset with the cover from Blood Magic at this point on the left half way down the page. The image is a sword and a rose. The Tagline is: In the tradition of Indiana Jones & Errol Flynn and Tim Powers’ “On Stranger Tides” comes … Blood Magic – The Seventeenth Century Will Never Be The Same.


Lace & Steel has eight rolled stats and a number of factored stats, all of which will have been worked out on the pre-rolled character sheets you’ll be receiving at the start of the tournament. The rolled stats are Strength (STR), Endurance (END), Dexterity (DEX), Reason (RES), Intuition (INT), Drive (DRV), Charisma (CHR) and Magical Aptitude (MAG). Of these, STR, END, DEX, CHR and MAG should be familiar to most gamers. RES is the capacity for logic, memory and planning, INT is the innate perception and “sixth sense” of the character (gut feeling, if you like) and DRV is the measure of motivation and willpower. The factored stats are applicable mostly to combat, so they will be dealt with in the Combat section. Rolled stats range from 5-15 in normal humans.


Skills in the game range upwards from zero (0). All rolls are made on 2d6 – the lower the better. You must have a skill of at least level 0 in order to attempt a Skill Check (see below) in a specialist area (e.g. anyone can merely sit on a horse, but the skill of Riding would be required to take a horse over jumps). A Skill Level of 0 indicates a fair knowledge of the skill, 1 or 2 shows competence, 3 or 4 significant expertise, and higher levels indicate mastery of the skill. Skills can be opened or increased during play. Opening is at the referee’s discretion – there will be instructions in the scenario for the Con game. Successful skill use gains a chance for an experience increase roll; a Skill Roll with certain modifiers. A successful roll gains you skill points to increase that skill. The referee will explain how many skill points are needed to increase any particular skill.

Skill Checks

Skill checks are the method of resolving success or failure when performing an action. On ruling that an action requires a Skill Check, the referee will decide the stat that is most appropriate to that action, assess the feat’s Task Difficulty, and compare the two on the Comparison Chart. This will produce a number which must be rolled at or under 2d6 for the feat to succeed. This roll is modified by Dice Roll Modifiers (DRMs), which are decided upon by the referee. A Skill Level is a negative DRM (Negative DRMs work in the roller’s favour) and there are others which will be applied by the referee when the situation arises. Rolls failed by more than 2 points can have dire (or hilarious) consequences for the player.

Eg. Richard, a lesser noble, is trying to impress some court ladies with stories of his adventures. His Spin Yarn skill is 2, and his CHR is 13. The referee rules that this is an Average Task Difficulty Number of 10. The roll indicated on the chart (13 vs 10) is 9, minus 2 for his skill. Richard rolls a 6, manages to impress the ladies, and gets possible experience increase to his Spin Yarn skill.

If the Skill Check required is against another character, the roll required is determined by comparison of the relevant characteristics of the two characters.

Eg. Richard seems to have impressed the aging and rather plain Lady Angela a little too well, and she makes an attempt to get him home for the evening by use of her Flirtation skill of 1. Angela’s CHR of 7 vs Richards DRV of 12 gives a roll of 4, minus 1 for her skill. Angela rolls 9, trips over her words and leaves in tears, having failed to impress Richard one little bit.

Self Image Modifier

The SIM is a modifier applied to Skill Checks involving Charisma and Drive. SIMs are basically a measure of how a character feels about himself or herself. Negative SIMs are good, positive SIMs are harmful. SIMs will only last for a few days at most; you can’t stay happy forever. The referee will determine the gain and extent of SIMs.

Eg.. The referee determines that Richard’s storytelling earns him a -2 SIM for the rest of the night. This would apply only to rolls involving CHR and DRV made by him, and thus would not have applied in the second example.

Ties and Antipathies

These represent the relationships between the character and the outside world. A tie is a loyalty, friendship or duty to a person or idea. An antipathy is a feeling of disgust, aversion or hatred of the same. These will be determined before play and will develop as the game continues. Ties and antipathies are not trivial things – one has a tie with a country or a loved one, not with a favourite food or drink. The referee will determine when a roll for increase/decrease of a tie or antipathy is appropriate. These stats can reach any level, but much above 4 becomes unplayable.

Eg. Lady Julia de Burgh has been listening to Richard’s stories with interest. Suddenly, Richard notices her and is captivated by her beauty. The referee rules that a tie roll is in order. Richard’s roll of 2 is an extreme reaction, and he immediately develops a tie of 2d2, rolling 3. Julia rolls for a tie with Richard (his CHR vs her DRV, yielding 7) and her 5 indicates a tie also. She rolls 2d2, scoring 2. Isn’t love at first sight wonderful?

Combat rules will be covered in the second part.

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Festival of the Imagination 1996: July 1995 Newsletter

Page 14

The West Australian Science Fiction Foundation (WASFF) is working well with the 1996 convention committee and our hope is that the convention will be both well presented and well attended. Most importantly we hope that all members of the Western Australian science fiction community will be able to participate.

This year the WASFF committee wishes to complete the formalization of the Mumfan Award for both past and future years. If anyone has any suggestions for the format of the certificate to be presented to all recipients we would greatly appreciate your input.

Guidelines for the Tin Ducks will be presented to the next AGM (details will be made available prior to the meeting so that people have a chance to read them in advance). I urge you all to read them and and have your say at the AGM when we hope to resolve this matter.

A list of people (past and present) associated with science fiction in Western Australia is currently being drawn up. We would appreciate help from anyone who can supply us with information including lists of attendees of previous conventions and details of members of other science fiction groups, both past and present. All information we receive will initially remain confidential. No-one will be paced on the final list without their consent. Guidelines as to the availability of final list and its use will be drawn up and made available so that discussion can be held at the next AGM.

We are also still looking for any contributions for “THE RED BOOK”.

Over the past couple of years WASFF has provided some support for literary competitions. If anyone has any ideas of other things that WASFF can lend support to which will benefit Western Australian science fiction please let us know. An approach to any member of the WASFF board can be made either formally of informally.

Your WASFF committee for this year is:
Mark Bivens
Luigi Cantoni
Robin Clarke
Ann Griffiths
Peter Kelly
Richard Scriven
Mark Suddaby

The WASFF email address is wasff@perth.DIALix.oz.au.
The WASFF postal address [no longer existent PO Box] W.A. 6948.

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Swancon 17 Souvenir Book: Anime Matsuri

Here is page 38 and part of 39 of the Festival of the Imagination 1992 souvenir book.

Swancon 17 Souvenir Book: Anime Matsuri

All of page 38 and the top and bottom of page 39 contain cute frames from Totoro. The text on page 39 is as follows…

Anime Matsuri is a programme of Japanese animation developed by Thomas Edge of JAFWA (Japanese Animation Fans of WA) to present Festival-goers with a cross-section of the brightest and most innovative animation being produced in Japan today.

You may ask, why animation, and why Japanese animation?

We believe that the image of the fantastic is a critical part of science fiction and fantasy, and that the manner in which artists present that image is of interest to the science fiction and fantasy audience.

Animation has been described as the only true artform of the Twentieth Century, based as it is upon the technical developments of the time. From the first, animators sought to present audiences with images which could not otherwise be created for the screen; images of the fantastic.

In the period between 1905 and 1915 New York newspaper cartoonist Winsor McCay created a partner for his part-time vaudeville act, a dinosaur named Gertie, one of the earliest fantasy characters to be created by an animator. Between 1915 and 1930 other New York cartoonists, inspired by McCay’s ground-breaking work, entered the animation field. These men laid the ground rules, and made most of the early technical breakthroughs that shaped animation as we know it. This period saw the first appearances of Betty Boop, Bosko the Clown, Popeye the Sailor, Felix the Cat, Superman and many other “fantasy” figures.

Perhaps though, it was with Walt Disney’s ambitious series of Silly Symphony short subjects that animation was first employed to bring fantasies to life. Singing cows, talking ducks and smiling trees filled the screen, and were plausible. When they were followed by Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Max Fleisher’s Hoppity Goes To Town, and of course the Golden Years of Disney – Pinocchio, Dumbo, Fantasia and Bambi – it became clear that our image of the fantastic would always be strongly influenced by animation.

That’s why animation.

But why Japanese animation? There are many reasons. In the last fifteen years Japanese animators have made the most innovative and interesting animated films, moving away from the perception, fostered by US television series, that animation is intended for children. Films like Robot Carnival, Akira, Appleseed, Nausicaa, Totoro and Laputa; all exemplify this trend.

This programme of animated feature films, short subjects and television episodes also gives some insight into the Weltanschauung of a culture that we deal with more and more.

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Festival of the Imagination 1996 – April 1995* Newsletter – Awards

In theory, the last of our posts from this particular newsletter. Previous posts can be found by clicking the relevant tags, and having a bit of a hunt.

(*)The actual newsletter says 1996 but this is a “known” typo and therefore the title here has been changed to protect the overworked/underpaid/sleep deprived author.


An important and traditional part of an event such as the Festival of the Imagination is the presentation of awards for recognition of excellence and achievement in various fields. At the 1996 Festival of the Imagination, two sets of awards will be presented.

The Australian Science Fiction “Ditmar” Awards

The idea of a national literary science fiction award was developed during 1968 when a committee of fans and authors, including Ditmar Jensen and Lee Harding, struggled to decide on such matters as the form of the trophy, the rules, and the name. Despairing of ever reaching agreement it was proposed, half in desperation and half in jest, to use Jensen’s name for the award. The rest is history. The awards were first presented in 1969, and have been pressed at each national science fiction convention since then, which will make the 1996 awards the twenty-seventh time the awards have been presented. They recognise fannish and professional endeavours and, like the Hugo Awards, are presented for work published in the year prior to the convention at which they are presented, and are voted upon by the members of that convention.

The Australasian Science Fiction Media Awards

The ASFMAs were originally conceived as a way of giving a form of acknowledgement to those in the media side of fandom, in much the same way that the Ditmar pays tribute to its literary aspects. They were first awarded in 1984 at Medtrek, and are now awarded at the annual National Australasian Science Fiction Media Convention. 1996 will be the first time the ASFMAs (which, at one point in their brief but venerable history were known simply as ‘Robbies’) have been awarded in Western Australia. The awards themselves are made out of glass by Peter Lupinski, and are fashioned to look impressive sitting on a mantelpiece, as well as to be a fairly deadly weapon in close combat.

The Ditmar Awards will be presented in the following categories: The categories for the Australasian Science Fiction Media Awards are:
  • Best Long Fiction
  • Best Short Fiction
  • Best Publication (Periodical)
  • Best Artwork
  • Best Non-professional Writer
  • Bets Non-professional Artist.

In addition, the William Atheling Jnr Award for Criticism will be awarded.

  • Best Fan Writer
  • Best Fan Artist
  • Best Newsletter
  • Best Fan Fiction Zine
  • Best Amateur Audiovisual Production

Eligible entries for the awards will have been published or produced between January 1st and December 31st in 1995, and be the work of Australian (or, in the case of the ASFMAs, Australasian) residents during that period. More details on the criteria for the award categories will be printed in subsequent Newsletters. For more information, or to nominate works for either set of awards, write to the convention address, marking clearly which award you are nominating for. Nominations should be received no later than January 31st 1996.

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